Discuss some of the social changes in nineteenth-century Britain which Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens wrote about.
Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens wrote mostly about the effects of industrialisation. Dickens wrote about industrial towns and the plight of the poor in them—smoking chimneys, grim factories, pollution, and identity-less and exploited workers. In his novel "Hard Times", he criticises the greed for profits and the reduction of human beings into tools of production. In other works, he dwells on the sad conditions of urban life under industrial capitalism.
Thomas Hardy, on the other hand, wrote about traditional rural communities of England which were vanishing in the face of rapid industrial growth. The change from old agricultural practice of independent farming to employment of labourers and machines on large farms can be seen in Hardy’s famed work “The Mayor of Casterbridge”. In this novel, through the character of Michael Henchard, Hardy demonstrates how he mourns the loss of the personalised world, even though he knows its problems and understands the advantages of the new order.